Afridi plays down title talk
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi played down his side’s chances of winning the World Cup despite sweeping into the semi-finals with a 10-wicket win over West Indies in Mirpur.
Afridi again led the way with four wickets as West Indies were bowled out for a paltry 112 - a target openers Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal chased down inside 21 overs.
It was a convincing success, on Pakistan’s national day, that has further underlined their chances of winning the tournament for a second time.
And while Afridi had tipped his side to reach the last four before the tournament, he was unwilling to entertain thoughts of Pakistan going further just yet.
“I’m very happy because before this competition I told my friends and the nation that with this team I wanted to play in the semi-finals,” he said.
“There will now be more expectations to go on. But I am just thinking game by game. The only thing we can do is give 110%.
“Every team from now will come harder and harder. We will just keep making plans for each team and try and stick to those.”
Pakistan face a tough task in the last four where they will meet the winner of tomorrow’s match between tournament favourites India and three-time defending champions Australia.
Pakistan beat Australia in their previous game, to end the Antipodeans’ 34-game unbeaten World Cup run and top Group A, to underline their spoilers’ potential after coming into the tournament as outsiders.
Afridi, who has now taken a tournament-best 21 wickets so far, put his team’s slightly unexpected run to the last four down to the planning of coach Waqar Younis.
“On each and every game we make plan with the coach and we stick to hose plans,” Afridi said.
“Everyone has done a great job, especially the bowlers from first game. This was a great performance, this is the best gift to give to my nation.”
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy was left to reflect on the meekest of exits from the tournament, but believes a youthful side will learn from their disappointment.
He said: “We definitely did not get enough runs. They bowled well at us and we didn’t counteract, hence we were bowled out cheaply. Throughout tournament we have been losing wickets to spin and today was no exception.”
He added: “We look at our squad have a number of players under the age of 27 which augers well for us. We have a few youngsters that should be around for next World Cup.
"We didn’t play to our full potential at all in this tournament. When we do that we can beat any team on our day.”